Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday Morning Wonderful: Michael Vick's Pit Bulls Thrive in Loving Homes

Kiss me, you gorgeous beast!
Two pit bulls formerly owned by Michael Vick enjoy their new lives. (AP)

As the Mama of a foundling pit bull--hell, as a human being who loves animals--this news made me so happy:

His back resting comfortably against her chest, Hector nestles his massive canine head into Leslie Nuccio's shoulder, high-fiving pit bull paws against human hands.

The big dog -- 52 pounds -- is social, people-focused, happy now, it seems, wearing a rhinestone collar in his new home in sunny California.

But as Hector sits up, deep scars stand out on his chest, and his eyes are imploring.

Hector ought to be dead, Nuccio knows -- killed in a staged fight, executed for not winning or euthanized by those who see pit bulls seized in busts as "kennel trash," unsuited to any kind of normal life.

Instead, Hector is learning how to be a pet.

After the hell of a fighting ring, he has reached a heaven of sorts: saved by a series of unlikely breaks, transported thousands of miles, along with other dogs rescued with him, and now nurtured by Nuccio, her roommate, Danielle White, and their three other dogs.

The animals barrel around the house, with 4-year-old Hector leading the puppy-like antics -- stealth underwear grabs from the laundry basket, dashes across the living room, food heists from the coffee table -- until it's "love time" and he decelerates and engulfs the women in a hug.

"I wish he could let us know what happened to him," says Nuccio, the big tan dog's foster mother.

But what she does know is this: Hector has come a long way since he was trapped in the horrors of Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels.

There are more great photos at the link. If you're interested in adopting a pit bull, here's a terrific site with loads of information as well as links to your local rescue organizations. I must remind you, however, that one should never, ever allow a small or even medium-sized child to play with any dog bigger than a Chihuahua, since animals are unknown quantities, and while a Chihuahua bite might be upsetting, it won't be disfiguring or lethal. As with many large dogs, especially terriers, that were historically bred as fighters and hunting companions, pit bulls don't always play nicely with cats and other small animals (and that's putting it mildly)--unless, of course, they've been raised with cats since early puppyhood. Furthermore, generations of selective breeding have produced an animal that can oftentimes be pathologically needy for love and affection. Still, I can attest to the pit bull's incredible intelligence, loyalty, and sweet, gentle nature, and I will also warn you: they're very fond of kissing the ones they love.

(H/T QM2)

Also at Shakesville.

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